An ice storm warning was issued Thursday for the region. It was expected to go into effect 9 a.m. Friday and end by noon Sunday.
A winter storm watch that was issued earlier this week was removed and replaced with the ice storm warning Thursday afternoon by the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service issued the following advisory for the St. Louis region:
“Freezing rain will overspread the area Friday afternoon and evening. Significant ice accumulation is expected from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. Accumulations...one-quarter to one-half inch of ice.”
The advisory continued: “The wintry precipitation will likely result in hazardous travel conditions...especially on bridges, overpasses and untreated roads. Parking lots and sidewalks will become slippery as well. Damage to trees and power lines is also possible.”
The National Weather Service said an ice storm warning means “a severe and dangerous amount of ice accumulation is occurring or expected.”
Madison County officials on Thursday afternoon announced that county offices will be closed on Friday. Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler and Chief Judge David Hylla decided to close the county facilities, which includes the courts, administration building, health department and various other departments.
“The National Weather Service is predicting an ice storm to strike (Friday) and continue throughout the day and we want to make sure our employees and the public stays safe,” Prenzler said in a news release.
In St. Clair County, officials announced that all criminal and court proceedings will be canceled on Friday, but county offices will remain open.
Scott Air Force Base is requiring only mission-essential personnel report for work on Friday, a move that will remain in effect until further notice.
“All personnel identified by their commanders as mission-essential are to report for duty,” the base wrote on its Facebook page. “Only those children of designated mission-essential personnel are allowed to be dropped off at the CDCs and Youth Center. The Commissary, Exchange and Express will open at normal times for a short period for those needing items. They will announce their closure later. All other base activities are canceled. All medical appointments will be rescheduled.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation let motorists know that travel could be impacted by sleet and ice through Sunday. IDOT said crews have been pretreating bridges, overpasses and ramps – the areas most susceptible to icing – in advance of the expected freezing rain and sleet. More than 3,700 employees and 1,700 trucks will be available statewide to battle the winter storm this weekend, applying salt where needed.
The Missouri Department of Transportation was encouraging employers and schools to allow workers and students to stay home on Friday.
Meteorologists say the predicted ice won’t start rolling in until Friday morning or midday Friday.
KSDK meteorologist Scott Connell reported that temperatures are expected to fall into the 30s on Thursday and then into the 20s on Thursday night.
With the cold air in place, warm and moist air aloft will create mostly freezing rain, Connell reported. There may be some sleet, especially when the precipitation first starts, but freezing rain seems to be the most likely scenario, he reported.
Connell said many areas will see up to a quarter-inch of ice, though some could get up to half an inch.
KMOV reported that the ice could arrive in time for Friday’s commute. Sleet and freezing rain will develop south of St. Louis Thursday night into Friday morning. Then the sleet and freezing rain will spread north during the morning and afternoon, KMOV reported.
It may be a slow push north. It’s possible it stays south of the St. Louis metro during the commute, but could end up being a close call, according to KMOV. The station reproted that an icy mix of sleet and freezing rain will spread north into the metro, if not reaching St. Louis in the morning, then likely by the afternoon and evening.
The full forecast for the metro-east from the National Weather Service:
Tonight...Colder. Partly cloudy until early morning then becoming mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of snow and sleet after midnight. Low in the mid 20s. North wind around 10 mph.
Friday...Colder...Cloudy. Chance of freezing rain in the morning...Then freezing rain likely in the afternoon. Ice accumulation of one tenth to two tenths of an inch. High around 30. Northeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Friday night...Freezing rain likely. Ice accumulation around one tenth of an inch. Near steady temperature around 30. East wind around 10 mph in the evening becoming light after midnight. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Saturday...Freezing rain likely in the morning...Then rain... Possibly mixed with freezing rain in the afternoon. Ice accumulation around one tenth of an inch. High in the mid 30s. Light wind. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.
Saturday night...Cloudy...Rain...Possibly mixed with freezing rain in the evening...Then chance of freezing rain after midnight. Ice accumulation around one tenth of an inch. Near steady temperature in the lower 30s. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Sunday...Cloudy...Rain...Possibly mixed with freezing rain in the morning...Then chance of rain in the afternoon. High around 40. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Sunday night...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of rain. Low around 40. Temperature steady or slowly rising.
Martin luther king jr day...Warmer. Rain likely. High in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Monday night...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain. Low in the lower 40s.
Tuesday...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain. High around 50.
Tuesday night...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain... Possibly mixed with snow. Low in the mid 30s.
Wednesday...Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. High around 50.